Rossi Fastest in Chaotic Practice 2 at Barber

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(Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Alexander Rossi set himself apart from the field in the second practice session for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, setting a 1:06:079 lap on Firestone’s faster red-walled alternate tyre that was almost two tenths faster than any other driver around Barber Motorsports Park.

Rossi’s dominant lap was almost never run, as he was one of many drivers caught out by red flags during the session. The first came with 28 minutes remaining, as A.J. Foyt EnterprisesDalton Kellett spun around at the exit of turn five, but the session was back to green very quickly.

With 20 minutes to go another red flag was shown, as Andretti Autosport‘s Colton Herta locked up in turn two and ran off track, smacking the wall. Herta damaged the left front and rear suspension, getting no time to run on the option tyre ahead of qualifying. Herta was second quickest in Practice 1 and was at the top of the timesheet when he crashed, but now the team has a lot of work to do to get the Gainbridge No. 26 Honda ready for qualifying.

After a ten minute cleanup period, drivers were itching to make the most of the time left to get option tyre runs in, with the track becoming heavily congested and hard to get space to set a good lap time. With less than five minutes to go, Josef Newgarden made an incredible save coming out of the final corner, but his car would shut down on the front straightaway due to overboost. Newgarden was quickly able to re-fire, but drivers like Rossi and Scott Dixon were afraid that they would not get a final run on the option tyre. IndyCar decided to stop the session clock and promised teams at least one timed flying lap, and there is where teams hit the track with aggression.

Following Rossi was a trio of Chip Ganassi Racing cars, with Marcus Ericsson taking second place (1:06:219), Dixon in third (1:06:301) and Alex Palou, who was fastest in Practice 1, finishing fourth (1:06:320). Their teammate Jimmie Johnson finished last yet again this session, but gained his first experience on the option tyre and improved upon his times from the earlier session by a few tenths.

After causing a red flag in Practice 1, Felix Rosenqvist‘s Arrow McLaren SP team got his car together in time to set the fifth fastest lap of the session with a time of 1:06:394, a strong rebound after his earlier error. Rosenqvist’s teammate Patricio O’Ward finished not far behind in seventh, with a lap time of 1:06:515.

Splitting the two McLarens was Ed Jones, who makes his return to the series with Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan, posting the sixth fastest lap time of the session at 1:06:474.

Will Power finished eighth for Team Penske, after an off-track excursion in the final stint of the session. However, it wouldn’t stop him from posting a 1:06:523 lap time.

Conor Daly finished the session in ninth place, cracking the top ten after finishing eleventh in Practice 1, with a lap time of 1:06:559. Daly’s Ed Carpenter Racing teammate Rinus Veekay has not been able to find the same speed, as he finished nineteenth in both sessions.

Rounding out the top ten was Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing with a lap time of 1:06:589. Harvey wasn’t able to run much in the first session due to issues with his car, but was able to show his always-strong qualifying pace this afternoon.

After finishing in the top ten last session, rookie Scott McLaughlin was only able to put up the twelfth best lap time at 1:06:664. Fellow rookie Romain Grosjean of Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing improved greatly upon his earlier time, moving from twenty-first to seventeenth with a lap time of 1:06:856. Grosjean even spent time at the top of the charts early in the session.

A mystifying omission from the fastest drivers so far this weekend has been Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, who have not had a car finish inside the top fifteen in either practice session. After qualifying both cars on the front row in 2019, Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal will hope to find that pace in qualifying.

Qualifying will begin at 1750 EST / 2250 BST on Sky Sports F1 in the UK, and on Peacock in the US.

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Practice 2 Results

127Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:06.079
28Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing+ 0.139
39Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing+ 0.222
410Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing+ 0.240
57Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP+ 0.315
618Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan+ 0.395
75Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP+ 0.435
812Will PowerAUSTeam Penske+ 0.443
920Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing+ 0.479
1060Jack HarveyENGMeyer Shank Racing+ 0.509

You can view the full session results here.

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